Bill Would Protect Pennsylvania's Waters from Drilling Damage

In this bill, natural gas drillers would be responsible for more contaminant liability.

Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future (PennFuture) praised Senator Gene Yaw for introducing legislation (Senate Bill 601) to protect Pennsylvania’s waterways and drinking water from damage by drilling for natural gas.

“This bill contains the kinds of further protections we need, adding to the good base of regulations we have already passed,” said Jan Jarrett, PennFuture’s president and CEO. “Senator Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming) is showing true leadership in creating additional guidelines to protect our water from contamination.”

According to Yaw, “Senate Bill 601 will increase the distance that a natural gas drilling company would be presumed liable for any contamination of a water supply within a year after completion or alteration of a well within 1,500 to 2,500 feet. The legislation will also further increase the horizontal distance from a Marcellus well and an existing building or water supply from 200 feet to 500 feet."

The bill also would require permit applicants to send a copy of the permit to the surface landowner, the coal owner if coal rights have been severed from the surface, all surface landowners within 1,500 to 2,500 feet of the Marcellus well location, and the municipality where the proposed well is located and any municipality within 2,500 feet from the proposed Marcellus well location.

“We’re looking forward to working with Senator Yaw and his colleagues to make this bill even better, by including provisions to bar damage to special protections waterways and to create a system to track drilling wastewater,” continued Jarrett. “The natural gas in the Marcellus Shale gives us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to move away from coal and oil to a cleaner burning fuel, but only if Pennsylvania sets world-class drilling standards and ensures that the drillers meet those standards.”

PennFuture is a statewide public interest membership organization that advances policies to protect and improve the state’s environment and economy.

Source: PennFuture